It’s almost tulip time in the Netherlands.
Feel the bloom around North & south holland
It’s happening. Can you feel it? It’s springing up all over Northern Europe. Where you are too? Phew. We made it. Or at least I did. Even when armed with the tools for some cozy Danish hygge to help survive the dark days, I am always happy to see the first harbingers of spring when they happen. Here, it is the tiny white blooms of vintergækker, or snowdrops, that appear first on the scene. Even when they are surrounded by sprinklings of snow, I know that the rest of spring is blooming soon.
The peak of the spring season in Northern Europe brings blue skies, blooms, buds and blossoms. In the Netherlands, this means tulips. Whether you call them tulips, two-lips, chew-lips, tulipes, tulipaner or tulpen – they will soon be pushing up pretty all over the Netherlands. Between the end of March through mid-May, it is tulpomania further south in the Netherlands. And as there are many, many different varieties of tulips; there are as many ways to enjoy them.
While you can explore this region from a base in Amsterdam, we chose to plunk down right in the middle of the Bollenstreek, the Dutch flower bulb region. We stayed in darling little Haarlem, cobbled and canaled and café’d, it was the perfect post for our tulip tour.
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Three ways to get your bloom on this spring in the Netherlands
1 | Bollenstreek | Flower strip between haarlem and leiden
The Bollenstreek offers field after field after field full of brightly colored tulips when in bloom. Our timing was perfect last mid-April and we were treated to a veritable fruit stripe of bulb-o-licious flavors. Even the teens were impressed.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Bollenstreek Flower Radar
Check out what fields are blooming in the area. A super cool crowd-sourced map to see what is bursting where. Seeking purple blossoms? Keep an eye and hunt them down.
2 | KEUKENHOF GARDEN | LiSse, NL
The largest garden in the world, Keukenhof draws a million visitors each year during the eight weeks the blossoms are a’bloomin. Growers from the Netherlands and beyond plant brilliant displays that showcase their bulbs. Don’t think your kids will be smitten with hectares upon hectares of formal flower beds? Take a ride on the little canal or pet the baby goats. Seriously pet the goats. They are adorable. Playgrounds and places for picnics offer pauses in the petunias. I mean tulips. And daffodils. And hyacinths and poppies and crocus. Keukenhof writes the book on all things that bloom from a bulb.
GOOD TO KNOW:
3 | BLOEMENcorso | FLOWER PARADE
For one Saturday and one Zaterdag only, you can find the famous Bloemencorso Bollenstreek as it rolls along a 40-kilometer route through all the small towns between Noordwijk and Haarlem. Featured are around 20 large-scale motorized floats covered with flowers. It reminds me of the Rose Parade in my Portland, Oregon or the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, California, on a slightly smaller scale. The Bloemencorso intersperses the floats with entertainment from live bands and local personalities. If only we knew what they were saying. I speak a little Danish, not Dutch – remember? Check the website for estimated arrival times along the route. Park nearby and join the tourists and the locals, you can’t help but be charmed and love the flower parade.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Saturday 21st April 2018
40 km course around Bollenstreek region between Noordwijk and Haarlem
9:30 parade departs Noordwijk
19:30 illuminated parade arrives Haarlem.
See specific route details and projected times here.
WHERE WE STAYED
We loved little Haarlem and stayed nearby at the Stayokay Haarlem hostel hotel. Dorm style rooms are affordable and family friendly – even for five. Breakfast included and funky bar with music onsite. When the weather is nicer, sit outside and enjoy the patio. Bicycles available to rent.
A full breakfast buffet is in this hostel included with a night’s accommodation. The buffet consists of organic bread, meats with a Beter Leven quality seal, fresh fruit, different kinds of fresh juices, dairy products, and various spreads.”
Jan Gijzenpad 3, 2024 CL Haarlem, Netherlands
NOTE: This post was originally written in 2017, but updated with current dates, opening hours and prices for 2018 as of April of this year.
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